COMMENT: How long does it take to walk off the kilojoules?

IF YOU knew it would take 24 minutes of walking to work off a single Tim Tam, would you still reach for that last one?

The introduction of nutritional labelling on a number of Australian-owned beers is undoubtedly a step in the interest of public education, but a research group from Western Australia's Edith Cowan University wants to take food and beverage labelling one step further.

To help people interpret labels into real consequences, they have proposed a new labelling system that translates kilojoules into walking time.

The 'equivalent walking time' of each food would be displayed on the front of the food packet in an effort to combat Australia's obesity epidemic.

It's a great idea and research so far indicates it might work, but I can't help thinking about the effect of another mandatory labelling system designed to have a marked effect on people's habits - the extremely confronting warnings on cigarette packaging.

I have never been a smoker but when the graphic warnings were introduced three years ago I noticed many of my smoking friends, while at first incensed by the images of gangrenous toes and rotting teeth, either very quickly became de-sensitized or found creative ways to cover them up

Now I'm not saying I'd plead blissful ignorance to how long it would take to walk off a block of Lindt chocolate, but if the cardboard packaging just happened to go missing when I opened it ...



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